IN Southampton we do not have such a famous story as the dog Greyfriar’s Bobby in Edinburgh.

Faithful Bobby spent 14 years guarding the grave of his owner until he died himself in 1872.

However, animals have featured strongly across Southampton for centuries such as the lions in front of the Bargate.

Sir Bevis according to the medieval legend is said to have slain two lions to protect his princess Josian. He then returned to England to reclaim his father’s land and found Southampton.

There were stags on the pillars at Stage Gates at the junction of the Avenue and Lodge Road until 1919. It is thought that they were actually hinds not stags but 101 years on the name is still used.

From the late 1800’s to the 1960’s charity collection dogs, often named Jack, were a familiar sight at railway stations.

Southampton West - today’s Central Station - had its own dog called Jack.

Another dog was at the old Terminus Station.

Jack’s daily duty was to parade the station with a collection box around his neck for the 200 capacity Railway Servants’ Orphanage at Woking which was founded in 1886 and demolished in 1989.

Jack received five silver medals. Each one depicted a steam locomotive with the inscription “London and South Western Railway Servants’ Orphanage”.

When Jack died his body was preserved and put into a glass case.

Jack despite his death continued to collect funds for the Orphanage and other charities.

The case containing Jack remained prominent on Platform One about where WH Smith is today until 1968 when the station was renovated.

Another local story involves a Russian bear, named Miskka.

He was imported as a young cub and was held in the grounds of the former Bassett Hotel in Burgess Road.

Miskka became a useful publicity tool for the hotel.

In 1877 the bear escaped onto the adjacent Common.

Following a major hunt the bear was eventually located and returned to the Bassett Hotel.

As the bear grew, he became stronger and in July 1907 a decision was taken to have the bear shot as he threatened to break down his cage again.

Having a bear was great publicity for the hotel and following the demise of Miska they obtained a new bear called Buster.

This time there was no recorded escape and the new bear remained an attraction until his death in 1932.

The Bassett Hotel also had a South African dog faced baboon named Horace and other animals in its large rear garden including sheep and Shetland ponies.

Like Jack at Southampton Central station, Miskka was stuffed by taxidermists and put into a glass case.

In Mayfield Park to the east of Southampton is a large obelisk.

It is built in the park which was originally part of the Chamberlayne Estate.

The monument was erected in 1810 to commemorate Charles James Fox who was a prominent statesman.

An inscription to his honour was prepared to be placed on the Obelisk but was never attached.

In 1854 the Chamberlayne family who owned the land sold part of it including the monument to Colonel Robert Wright. Strangely enough the monument was then used to record not a famous statesman but two horses Workman and Sally that belonged to Colonel Wright.

He was so distressed by their passing in 1886 that he arranged to have them buried near to the monument.

Colonel Wright then arranged for an inscription to record the following line from Shakespeare's Hamlet as he reflects on the impermanence of life: “To what base uses we may return, Horatio!”

A rather less edifying story involves walking bears and James the Smoking Chimp at the former Southampton Zoo where the Hawthorns Urban Wildlife Centre is today.

The Zoo which also had elephants and giraffes closed in 1985 after an animal rights campaign by people including Joanna Lumley.

Martin Brisland and Maurice Keys are tour guides with .